New Google Shopping For Merchants

My experience with using the updated and new Google Shopping for Merchants. This change effectively costs me more money in advertising costs, yet has not yielded better or more conversions.

Google changed the way merchants interact with their Shopping search, which translates into more money and fewer conversions.  Google Merchants before the change were able to submit their stores products and have them listed, without a fee.  However, now there is a fee for each click made within the Shopping categories of Google and on the Shopping results that show up in standard search engine results.  I’ve noticed the same amount of traffic, same amount of conversions.

Working specifically in my niche, all the users who had items listed before Google Shopping went paid, are still around.  So it’s not like the competition pool dried up.  Basically on my end no benefit has been made, other than my advertising budget has went up to get the same clicks I was receiving previously.  To help soften the blow, Google did offer $100 in free advertising through their paid product placement listings within the search engine results.  Not worth it.

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Building an Amazon Store with Premium Press

I’ve been using PremiumPress for the past 3 years for one of my physical product resale websites.  It has some weaknesses, that really only started showing their nasty heads once my business started to grow.  Now, this year, with over 1,000 transactions, it’s straining.  But I don’t blame the software itself, I blame the fact that the creator has refused to upgrade from 6.xx to the newest 7.xx version.  Meaning the only way to use the new and improved and more versatile 7.xx versions is to do a fresh install.  No thanks.

So, today, I started playing around with building a new website where I would affiliate for Amazon products, specifically 3D TV Glasses.  Going through the motions of important products directly from Amazon, tweaking layouts, and adding some content will give me the opportunity to practice with the latest version of Premium Press.  So far, I’ve been wildly impressed, especially with the ability to import products.

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Hunger Games Coming to Big Screen

I read a ton, unfortunately my wife would disagree.  If I don’t have my head stuck in a book, I’m not a reader.  It’s very convenient for her to ignore the countless hours spent reading blogs, forums, and online news articles.  So, to appease my wife I agreed to read some non-fiction last year, my first assignment was Hunger Games.

Hunger Games is a young adult book (YA), targeted at the same generation responsible for Twilight.  Thankfully, the quality of writing is far superior to anything vampiry and even as a 30 year old male I was entertained.  What’s not to enjoy?

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Face Rocked By The TimThumb Vulnerability

Well, here we are, months after the initial zero day vulnerability within the latest version of TimThumb and I’m still feeling the effects.  Unfortunately, for me, I’m a noob and didn’t do as a complete a search as I should have.  Here I am, fat and happy figuring I cleaned up all my sites, updated all my plugins, themes, etc…yet I missed one.

I missed a theme update on an old blog, that came back and bit me in the ass.  Because of the TimThumb vulnerability the hackers were able to inject some code into my wp-config file, allowing themselves access whenever their little hearts desired.  But, several, several, many hours later I’ve now done what I think can be done.

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5 Minutes With WordPress 3.3

Waking up to a new roll out of WordPress, version 3.3 is now available for automatic update from the WordPress dashboard.  Now, I actually hate going through and updating websites, inevitably something breaks, with a theme, plugin, or something.  However, this morning I decided to jump in head first and see exactly how much another WP update can rock my world, at least after 5 mins of playing.

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Google AdWords Automatic Payment Declined

[ad#toppostleft]Had a first this afternoon, apparently Google AdWords notified me that my bank denied the credit card on file for automatically making Google Adwords payments.  This denial of payment immediately put my currently running ads on pause and put my account in default until action was taken.  So, I immediately contacted Fifth Third Bank to see what was going on.

According to 5/3 Bank my they authorized the transaction and confirmed that the payment had went through.  After a brief conversation I also confirmed that my account was in good standing and there was no reason to put my account on hold, all transactions have been authorized and would be so in the future.  Keep in mind, this account has used the same payment method for over a year, payments going off without a hitch every month, but now supposedly declined.  Time to call Google.

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Incredible Phone Storage Space Is Getting Low – Fix

[ad#toppostleft]The HTC Incredible has been an amazing phone for me and works 99% of the time.  However, I’ve been running into an error, where it reports that my phone storage space is getting low.  Now, I have verified that my space is in fact not getting low, so we have a bug in the software.  Problem is, HTC does not recognize the bug, so no official fix exists, other than to simply do a hard reset.

Doing a hard reset means that you lose all of your applications, settings, and themes.  Basically you are forcing your phone back to the way it was when you first turned it on.  No thanks.  Thankfully, I’ve found another solution, which although may need to be repeated, is simple and effective.

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Google Merchants Datafeed Error

So, I’ve been using the Google Merchants and having success through Google Shopping, up until a few weeks ago.  Now, I’m still getting clicks, and my products are still showing up in search, however I’m getting datafeed errors.  The reason for the errors is not very clear.

On the Merchants dashboard it states that all of my products have errors, which need to be fixed.  The link below the announcement takes me to my datafeed quality report and states to fix the problems listed below.  Only problem, there are no problems listed below.

Google Merchants Datafeed
Datafeed Quality

How To Only Offer United States As Shipping Option In ShopperPress

If you are like me, you only want to offer shipping to the United States.  Unfortunately, despite all the positives behind Shopperpress, there is just no intuitive way to limit the countries available during checkout.  However, there is a simple fix, it just requires the editing of a single file.

1. Find _countrylist.php, which is located in the shopperpress theme folder.

2. Simply delete all the lines of code including other countries, except for the US and the first option, that sets the value at 0.

3. Save the file and replace the existing _countrylist.php with your edited one.

The reason we keep the very first line of code within the php file is to force a choice by the user.  By selecting the US, even though that’s their only option, it will still bring up the drop down menu for state selection.  This seemed to be the easiest and most fluid option for checkout and disallow other countries.  I simply cannot ship to Pakistan for the same price I ship to Illinois. 😉

Yahoo Advertiser Closure Fees

Ok, so I know I haven’t used the Yahoo Advertising service in forever, but actually closing my account and taking my money?  Apparently, if you don’t use your Yahoo Advertiser account for so long, they close it down and steal whatever money you had setting in the account, up to the $25 closing fee.  Not a lot of money, but considering how awful the return was, I’d suspect Yahoo is making more money from closing accounts than retaining customers.

Somehow, according to the email correspondence from Yahoo, the account had remained inactive for about 24 months.  2 years!?  Hell, had no idea I even had an advertising account for that long.  However, goes to show how much potential the Yahoo advertising network had for me, personally.

I understand the need to close the account, but I was given no notice of the impending doom.  Perhaps 30 days or so to let me spend my remaining few dollars would have been nice.  It’s frustrating, because unlike Google Adsense you are required to preload your advertising account at Yahoo, instead of being billed every month.  So, add funds, stop a campaign halfway and BAM, dollars resting in an account you forget about for 2 years.

Lesson learned and a warning to others.  Empty that old Yahoo advertiser account.